"Funeral Procession", Folio 35r from a Mantiq al-tair (Language of the Birds)

Calligrapher: Sultan 'Ali al-Mashhadi (active late 15th–early 16th century)

Author: Farid al-Din `Attar (ca. 1142–1220)

Object Name: Folio from an illustrated manuscript

Date: dated A.H. 892/ A.D. 1487

Geography: Made in present-day Afghanistan, Herat

Medium: Opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Painting: H. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm)
W. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Page: H. 13 in. (33 cm)
W. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)
Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1963

Accession Number: 63.210.35


This illustration is associated with a story related by the hoopoe as a response to a bird who complains about his fear of death. In the story, a son grieves the death of his father in front of his coffin and a sufi soothes him, explaining that his father had experienced much pain and that no one can avoid death. Here, the painter depicts the incident as occurring in front of a cemetery gate. The scene behind the gate is replete with motifs that are irrelevant to the story itself. The viewer at the court may have enjoyed deciphering them.